The BBC is reporting the story that broke in the Mirror a few days ago, that our Council is set to close most of the Sure Start Centres which support new parents of new children. David Cameron claimed that the service was safe with the Tories but our radical Council is set apparently to go further than even he envisaged with their cuts and close some of them down.
It's important here to seperate fact from political claim and counter claim. As far as I can make out the middle ground is that yes, some of them are going to be closed by our Council. The Council claim that they might survive but that's not really good enough if you're the parents potentially left high and dry - not to mention the infant who now won't get the support with literacy and other early years support that has been proven to make a radical difference in children's educational outcomes. I used to work with deaf children, for whom it is even more important to make early interventions, for example.
The Council rebutted the story when it first came out in the Mirror, calling the newspaper "predictably dishonest". I'm not sure you can really say that about the BBC and the piece ends with a less than reassuring quote from the Chair of the Local Government Association Baroness Margaret Eaton, who says this:
"Councils now face incredibly tough choices about the services they continue to provide and those they will have to cut."
So as I said before - not a happy new year in H&F if you're a happy new parent.